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February 10, 2021 – The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2020 Awards for outstanding community service. These annual awards honor both organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to the Nevada City community through their time, actions, talents and dedication. Those selected serve as a role model for compassion and service, and are constantly striving to make the world a better place.

The Nevada County Relief Fund is the recipient of the prestigious Elza Kilroy award for the group’s work in leading the community to raise over $1million dollars to support local businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Kilroy award, established in 1969, is given annually to a citizen or organization whose efforts help make Nevada City a better community.

The Nevada County Relief Fund was created through a partnership between the County of Nevada, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, the Sierra Business Council, Center for Nonprofit Leadership, and the Economic Resource Council.   

The Fund was established in April 2020 with a $100,000 “challenge grant” from the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis by directing vital resources to our most vulnerable neighbors and support our small businesses.  

Nevada County photographer, author, hiking guide, archaeologist, and historian Hank Meals will receive the Dave Irons Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts in sharing the natural history stories of the Yuba River Watershed and educating the community about our trails. Meals is the author of several books including Yuba Trails 1 & 2, and the River. He has been leading guided hikes and sharing his knowledge of local history with local non-profits for nearly 30 years. Named for long time Chamber board member and community arts leader Dave Irons, this award celebrates the individuals in our community who have dedicated their life to serving the residents of Nevada City. 

Other 2021 recipients are:

Nevada County Arts Council is being honored with the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Visual Arts Award for their work on the What a Relief Artist Relief Fund to support local working artists, along with their leadership with arts in education, establishing Nevada City and Grass Valley a California State Cultural District, and the promotion of the visual, literary and performing arts of Nevada County in order to advance the cultural, social and economic life of our community.

Sierra Poetry Festival is the recipient of the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Performing Arts Award. Now in its fifth year the festival is nationally recognized with past keynote speakers including Pulitzer Prize-winner Forrest Gander.

The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is being recognized with the annual Stan Halls Architectural Award for an extensive remodel and expansion of the intersection of Sacramento Street and Railroad Avenue, also known as Clamper’s Square. This remodel has brought life back to this unique, but historical location in Nevada City, while also honoring the accomplishments of John and Sarah Kidder. After John Kidder’s death, Sarah became president of Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad (NCNGRR) from 1901 to 1913 and became the first female railroad president in the world. This project was a joint venture between the City of Nevada City and the railroad museum that began in June 2018.

Local musician Peter Wilson is the recipient of the Live Music Award. Wilson has performed extensively as a solo act and with groups such as the Deadbeats and Troubadour Camp. He is a founding member of Paul Emery’s A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen and through his production company Strings Concerts, he has worked with the Center for the Arts, Miners Foundry Cultural Center and world-renowned fiddler Alasdair Frazer to bring artists to Nevada County.

The award winners were nominated and selected by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce would have celebrated the 119th annual Installation and Awards Dinner at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center, but due to COVID-19, the organization will instead post later this month an online video tribute to this year’s awardees.